Interview with Tyler Lennick from Butte Creek Farms, Hitman
Back in August of 2016, we were able to sit down with 23 year old Tyler Lennick from Butte Creek Farms. He works with the Hitman brand and had an enormous grow in Southern Oregon.
A Young Grower’s Success
Here’s what Tyler Said:
So, this is Tyler with Hitman Farms Oregon. We’re out here in beautiful Southern Oregon, located in the Eagle Point area.
How old are you?
I’m 23. So, it’s been… not a long struggle, but it’s definitely been a struggle to get to the point that we’re at right now. It’s been fast evolving. I’m very blessed to be a part of this point in history and be right in the right areas, Southern Oregon, Northern California, the state of Jefferson. So, that’s a part of history right here.
What size fabric pots are you using?
I chose 600 gallon pots. I felt like I chose that size due to a budget. And that’s for the medical side, growing big plants. You plant one in a 600 gallon pot and you’re going for a bigger plant and fewer numbers of plants. If I was going to go for more of a sea of green style, I would definitely go with a smaller size pot or I would plant several plants in a 600 gallon pot. I know there’s people that go all the way up to 1000 gallons. It just is, I guess, grower’s preference and I just chose the medium. 600.
Are you planning on reusing your fabric pots?
I do plan on using my pots year after year. I think these pots, Grassroots pots, are very durable. That’s what I chose to use this year. I’ve used many pots in the past and usually they only make it through one season. But this year, I am able to use my pots again thanks to Grassroots. They have even held up to moving. I’ve put a forklift underneath some pots and I’ve moved some. Usually you can’t do that with some pots and I found that to be kind of helpful this year in some scenarios. I normally don’t like to do that, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
Can you tell us more about the pot you moved?
Normally we don’t move 600 gallon pots, but this year unfortunately we had a miscommunication with employees and we had to move some pots. So, we used a forklift and got it underneath the pot and the pot was durable enough to move it a little ways. Not recommended, but definitely Grassroots pots held up to an incredible amount of force.
Why did you choose tan colored pots?
I do recommend the tan pots of the black pots. Keeping your root zone cool is key for microbiology and all that. They don’t want it to be 100 degrees plus. They want that to be a nice, cool area where they can multiply. So, definitely. Recommendation: Use the tan pot over the black pot. If you have a black pot, normally you’ll see roots not really coming all the way out to the edge of the pot because water evaporates quicker due to the heat so it gets dryer quicker there. I notice with the tan pot, the roots actually come out more to the edge. So, you’re actually filling out that diameter more.
What soil did you choose?
You gotta use Rogue Soil. Southern Oregon brand, Simon, who owns Rogue Soil, is a very good friend of mine. He will treat you very well. He puts a lot of high quality ingredients in his soil. I just only use the best and that’s Rogue Soil. He’s located here in Southern Oregon. All the soil is brought in from local sources in Oregon and it’s the product to use.
How big is your grow here in Southern Oregon?
So here in Southern Oregon, we are blessed to be on a 300 acre ranch with several different addresses. We have 2 licensed OLCC grows that are recreational. We went through a very extensive process with compliance and security cameras, alarm systems, fences, the whole nine to be in compliance with the OLCC guidelines. That was an incredible achievement on the whole team and that’s our main focus for years to come: to be licensed through the OLCC as more regulation comes into play. There is also medical on the property. We own a medical dispensary in Southern Oregon, Dabtown USA. So, we do grow medical as well to supply our dispensary. But in the future, I do see us going more towards the OLCC and the more regulated market.
What nutrients do you use?
Hitman Farms Oregon uses a living soil type grow method. Sustainable organics is kind of our thought process. We use Southern Oregon bokashi as an input in our soil and I highly recommend that for any grower to create a microbiology focus in their soil. Roots organic products, as well. We use their amendments. They have a foundation and an uprising grow and an uprising bloom. It’s a 3 part mix that we mix into our soil with the bokashi as well as the Rogue Soil. That’s our main base. If we see any deficiencies and we need to do some additives, we use some general organic products. Some of their cow mag products, and other sorts of things like that.
Do you brew compost teas?
Yes. We are big on our teas as well. We do a bokashi tea with kelp and a little bit of molasses for microbe life and a couple other secret ingredients that I’m not going to let you know.
Any other amendments?
So, some of the other amendments we use is worm castings as well as Bu’s Compost which is from Portland, Oregon. It’s a very recommended product to use. I don’t know if it’s a newer product but it’s newer to me. I was recommended by a really good friend to use it and I threw it on top mid-season in my mulch layer, and man I really noticed a take off with the Bu’s bio-dynamic compost, Portland, Oregon.
What strains are you growing?
Um, honestly the list is so long I can’t remember all of them. We’re at 83, 84 different strains right now? Yeah. Getting the variety down for everybody. We have our main staples that we like to grow. That is gorilla glue, really gassy, pungent strain. Fan favorite for sure. Also, Southern Oregon favorite is the Jager, also known as purple hindu kush. There’s two names for it. Depends on what region of the valley you’re from. Other strain main staple is game changer. It’s definitely a game changer. 6 week harvest time. Very sweet smelling purple bud that usually come off of it. That’s a farm favorite due to the short flower time. Our other very fan favorite strain is sour strawberry… kush. Can’t forget the kush. Sour strawberry kush. It’s a 3 way cross that I got from a good friend. It’s an OG crossed with a sour diesel, crossed with a strawberry cough. So it’s a 3 way cross. Very delicious. When we do it outside, it comes out like an indoor product. Very crystal-y, very light color with the purple accent. Another one that’s been kind of an eye popper this year has been our bubba kush. It throws this pink pistol and it’s very pretty. I’m going to recommend these lovely gentlemen to take pictures of that today.
Did you put any thought into which side of the property to put the farm?
Most of the placements of the plants were done strategically due to the terrain. I normally would like my plants facing east to west, west to east, however you want to say that. It just helps out with the way the sun comes up and over and gives it more of an even distribution of light.
Where do you see the cannabis industry in 5 years?
The cannabis industry has exploded. I mean, everyone literally knows this. In the past two years, let’s say. Colorado and Washington jumped on board and immediately Oregon and Alaska and I think DC has jumped on board… I see in the next 5 years, it’s scary to say, but big corporations are going to try to come in. They’re going to try to buy out smaller people and we’re going to definitely see a lot of that. But you’re still going to have your craft growers, like your craft brewers. Those are still going to be in play. There are still going be people that want craft cannabis. They’re going to want that quality over quantity. I see there’s going to definitely be a market for each individual. You’re going to have your big corporations that are going to pump out that Walmart weed that tastes like Mexico in the 80s, you’re going to have your craft guys that are growing gorilla glue and death star. And that’s going to be us. We’re going to definitely focus more on that craft cannabis aspect while also trying to keep up with this demand. I believe that more people are smoking these days. Not exactly smoking, but consuming cannabis in many different ways. Topicals, vaping, the whole gig. I believe that people are consuming more because they feel like they’re not breaking any laws. This is an okay thing to do now. So, I feel like consumption rates are going to go up. Which, necessarily, I don’t see that being a bad thing. I see that being a good thing. Taking people more away from alcohol and maybe bringing them more towards marijuana where it’s just a way calmer environment to say the least. Alcohol has definitely destroyed many lives and when people get drunk they usually don’t become more friendly, they usually become mean tempered and whatnot. And when you smoke cannabis, you get hungry and want to go out to dinner, then you want to come home and play some video games and go to sleep. What’s the harm in that. I really see the industry exploding from everything. From Grassroots Fabric Pots to the next new bubble making hash machine, to the dab tech this and that, to your dispensary that is becoming more friendly with the community. Joe Blow doesn’t have to go the the sketchy corner to grab a 10 sack, he can go down to the shop, Dabtown USA, look at 50 different flavors of concentrates, 20, 30 different flavors of flower, topicals, lemonade, coffee, the whole thing is just blowing up. It’s kind of a cool thing to be really a part of this whole innovative thing.
Do you have any advice for beginner growers?
If you decide you’re going to grow cannabis, the best grow tip that I can give you to date is do not over water your plants. People think they need water ever day. Not necessarily, and especially when you first plant them. Don’t over water your plants. That can be easiest, best tip I can give you. It’s probably the biggest mistake that people make.
How did you start growing?
So, right out of high school, I partnered up with a guy and we were able to obtain 3 acres for 10 grand out in Klamath Falls. That’s probably 2 and a half hours east of Medford in Southern Oregon. We obtained this property. It was high desert, 5,000 ft elevation, crappy water, very extreme conditions on climate and whatnot. So, it was very interesting starting there. We threw up 3 dep greenhouses. Back then, medically, you were allowed to do up to 96. I think we threw in around 70, 80 plants and started there. I worked that property for 2 years, then ended up splitting ways and going off. There was a point in my life where I had a property here in Medford and a property in Roseburg, which is about an hour and a half north. Then I had a property in Eugene which was about another hour past Roseburg. That was a really crazy year, trying to manage 3 different locations that were growing medical cannabis. There’s struggles on that. I was driving all the time. That created less time for work and whatnot. So, I went through that, found out that having locations that were too spread out wasn’t the key and came back to Southern Oregon where I started an indoor grow. It was very successful. We had 50 gavita lights that were successfully averaging 2 pounds per light. That was the turning point in my career. When I was getting really serious about going more on the professional side of things and trying to treat it more like a business instead of just doing it, going through the motions. At that point, we were able to get in to extracting and it was all legal in Oregon at that point to extract through the medical program. We became very successful through that, working with dispensaries and going through the legal mumbo jumbo and grey areas and evolving to this cannabis industry. Now we’re doing recreational cannabis and it’s heavily regulated. That was definitely the game changer this year. 2016 was the first year we were able to do any sort of recreational cannabis growing here in Oregon. In 2015, you were able to do sales of recreational cannabis starting July in 2015. So, dispensaries are starting to sell the recreational cannabis and now we’re starting grow the recreational cannabis. Dispensaries will be switching over from medical cannabis over to recreational cannabis and you will not be able to sell both at one location. Whereas, now you’re allowed to do that. So there’s a lot of changes that are still happening up here in Oregon. A lot of regulation that is being put in and pulled out. It’s definitely being over regulated, the recreational side, because it’s such a new thing. They definitely are overwhelmed, OLCC is. They didn’t realize the influx of people from out of state that would come here to partake in this cannabis industry. It really has changed the whole dynamics of how the city runs. Now we have lots of construction going on for homes and roadways because they’re just getting too chaotic. So, it’s really helped the economy. It’s boosted it everywhere. Portland has had an extreme influx of people, so it’s been a great thing that Oregon took the step to bring in this recreational cannabis and bring in jobs, bring in opportunity for people like myself to take in and try to go for the gold.